The Origins of the OBE

Exactly what is THE OLD BLUE EYES MEMORIAL CELEBRITY DEATH WATCH and how did it come about? These are questions that have baffled mankind for ages. Today, thanks to the internet and the time and energy of two goofy guys with a bit of spare time, you can unravel these mysteries (you lucky dog, you) and dazzle your friends with your knowledge. The story you are about to read is not pretty. It can be disturbing, disruptive, emotionally turbulent, and morally bankrupt. But, it must be told. So if you feel you have the intestinal fortitude and the lack of sense we've come to expect, grab your beverage of choice, pop some corn, tuck in the kids, and read on......

TIME: The early 1990's.
PLACE: Hawthorne, New Jersey

Two guys are wasting away their hours. "Conversing with the flowers," you ask? "No", we say. What they are doing however, is hanging around a joint called The Front Porch Pub and Restaurant located in Hawthorne, New Jersey (Wagraw Road if you're looking for it). The guys sit about and drink beer, eat turkey sandwiches, play pinball, and pontificate (well, they drink beer, eat sandwiches, and play pinball at least). On occasion these fine young lads discuss the news of the day. For example, one might say, "Hey, Telly Savalas died." The other might reply, "Join the Players Club" in an outright awful impression of the bald, lollipop sucking, Greek. Life goes on. Kamikazes are served. Time passes. Chicken in the basket is ordered. The calender changes. One guy smells something terrible (he forever claims it is the other guy's pinball skills). The OBE seed is planted.

TIME: Early 1990's
PLACE: Clifton, New Jersey

The guys enjoy what is known by most sane persons to be the best hot dog in the free world at a little joint called Rutt's Hut (if you're ever in Clifton, New Jersey eat one of these dogs or forever regret your failure to do so. It's on River Road). The radiant beauty of the serving staff at Rutt's is supplemented by the din of a news report coming from the overhead speakers. The news, friends, is bleak. Is it that the USA has just attacked Iraq? No. Is it that Gennifer Flowers claims to have had an affair with Bill Clinton? No. It is far worse! It is news that an old vaudevillian, Pinky Lee, has died. Now don't get us wrong, The Guys have never heard of Pinky. But, that never stopped these two clowns. Pinky Lee becomes their mantra. Toasts and dedications are made for weeks. Memorials are held. Pinky Lee has died and The Guys are determined to have his memory live on. Trust us folks, if you need a dead horse beaten, call The Guys.

TIME: Early 1990's through Mid 1990's
PLACES: Fair Lawn, New Jersey; Nutley, New Jersey; Middlesex, New Jersey; and Long Beach, California

Many changes occur in the lives of our heroes. One Guy moves west. One Guy marries. Beers are served. The clock ticks. Wise cracks are made. The sand falls. Celebrities die. The sickness continues. You'd think Pinky Lee would have been enough. You'd think that, but you'd be wrong silly! Each and every time a celebrity dies, The Guys make the obligatory phone calls. They send condolences to each other. They create song parodies. They crack jokes. They make toasts. Ultimately, they drag in their friends and their family. The horse is nothing more than a carcass and The Guys keep beating.

One man comes to the forefront to join in the fun. That man is the father of one of the Guys. These three silly men call each other every single time a celebrity keels, sometimes in the middle of the night. The jokes get more twisted, the Guys laugh themselves silly. The clock chimes. One Guy's father sheds this mortal coil. Soon, the other Guy's dad joins him. Tears are shed. Drinks are poured. Laughter fuels the Guys forward.

TIME: 1996-1997
PLACE: The Information Superhighway

The Guys take their absurdity to a new high (or low) by betting on the likelihood that a certain famous crooner will/will not make it through the year. One Guy ends up a poorer man by the end of 1996 but takes the bet again for 1997. What the hell was that Guy doo bee doo bee doing? Who knows. Suffice it to say, he lost some cash. Throughout these years the Guys are forever e-mailing taunts to each other. Song parodies reign supreme. Midnight calls regarding celebrity deaths are the norm. Bi-coastal visits occur. Nights of smiles and laughter to the point of tears are born. Sometimes there's heartache and those smiles come in handy. Slowly a philosophy is formed. A philosophy that recognizes that the greatest value in life is found in time spent laughing, joking about, sharing food and drink, and enjoying one's friends. Our heroes begin to feel their twenties yield and greet their melancholy thirties, not with tears and sentimentality, but with broad grins.

TIME: Late 1997
PLACES: Middlesex, New Jersey and Long Beach, California

The guys surf the net regularly. Emails abound. Internet Phone allows voice to voice communication via the net. The fellas stumble on a site called Stiffs.com. What they have known for years is validated. The boys feel they have no choice but to serve their friends and family. The summer of 1997 finds The Guys diligently working out the details of the first annual Old Blue Eyes Celebrity Death Watch. The guys agree it must be more than a death pool. It must be funny, show a level of appreciation to both the past tense celebrities and the players who visit. It must also keep the spirit of humorous notification on celebrity deaths alive. The Guys hatch their 1998 Old Blue Eyes Celebrity Death Watch in October of 1997. Once the entries are in on December 31, 1997, the fellas begin the Watch. Death notices go out regularly. Some people get pissed off but most giggle. The mailing list grows. The popularity increases. An institution is born. And from the heavens The Guys hear a quiet but definite voice state, "Idiots!, The two of them." and they smile. A cork is popped. A new year approaches. Life and death alike provide the fuel for our heroes' fodder.

TIME: 2000-2007
PLACES: Riverside, Claifornia; Middlesex, New Jersey and Miami, Florida

More moves and more losses. Some sadness and plenty of laughs. Some beer. The Death Watch trudges forward as do The Guys. The Guys hit the big 4-0. At 40 years of age, one would figure a certain amount of maturity would set in for The Guys. Not so much! The single Guy gives in to cupid and becomes the second Guy to marry. Visits, laughs, and friends! Great times. Participation grows and with it, many and more obscure picks are sent in to The Guys. The Guys go, "Grrrr" and increase beer consumption. Life muscles into Death Watch management time and the Guys think about calling it quits. That thought lasts for about two beers and the reading of the mailbag. Onward! Forward! Oh Jesus, not Don Knotts! Please no, NOT DON KNOTTS! Alas, yes, Don Knotts.

TIME: Late 2007-2009
PLACES: Middlesex, New Jersey and Miami, Florida

After a decade of Death Watch craziness, The Guys get fed up with Death Watchers entering the names of people who are not celebrities into the Old Blue Eyes Memorial Celebrity Death Watch. For the 2008 season, The Guys craft rules which they hope will minimize "World's Oldest," "family of..," and "sickly" picks. The rules don't work out quite the way the Guys had hoped. For the 2009 season, the Guys introduce a subjective element to the criteria and numerous Death Watchers cry like lost kittens. Consequently, The Guys decide that, for 2010, they will post a master list of celebrities they will accept. Any other picks will be judged completely subjectively. The thinking of The Guys is to drive the Death Watch back to its "giggle about the famous" roots.

Will our heroes succeed? Time will tell. Will they drink beer? Oh, come on, of course. Will they ever see a genius the likes of Harvey Korman again? Likely not. But they will continue. Even if a crazy spaceship comes down to earth and makes every human being immortal, they will continue. Granted, the game will get a bit more boring..... but they will continue.

What next? No one knows. Not even The Guys.......

TIME: Early 2013
PLACES: Middlesex, New Jersey and Jupiter Farms, Florida

Holy crap, The Guys are rolling into the second half of their 40s. Apparently it's true, they are two idiots. Sheesh!

As The Guys feverishly log entries for the 2013 Old Blue Eyes Memorial Celebrity Death Watch, they realize they've been operating this thing online for 15 years (going on 16). Following the embarrassing recognition of their obvious immaturity, they actually take a moment to be proud. Fifteen years. Over 500 different players/teams over the years. Almost 170 players/teams annually. Thousands in prize money given away. And the chuckles! Oh the chuckles!

Yes, their little OBE family has made The Guys proud. Can The Guys keep the humor and momentum going? Can they continue to confound players and themselves over the true meaning of "celebrity?" Can they break the 200 player/team mark? Can they make it to 20 years? Only time will tell. But one thing is for certain.....It's time for another beer.

Well, we hope you have learned something about the OBE and its founders. Now stop staring at this screen looking like a baffled monkey and head on over to the entry form and join the OBE.

TIME: Late 2017
PLACES: Middlesex, New Jersey and Miami, Florida

Well, well, well. The Old Blue Eyes Memorial Celebrity Death Watch turns 20. Yup, 20 years of this idiotic thing. Who'd have thunk it?

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